Winter sailing and diesel engines

  • December 21, 2012 8:34 AM
    Message # 1164757
    I was thinking the other day that for those of us tempted to sail during the winter, and who do not live in semitropical climates or in the frozen north, it sure would be nice if there were some way to recycle coolant in the raw water system to avoid having to put RV antifreeze in the system everytime you take the boat out. During December through early March there are occasional days when the daytime temperature is acceptable for sailing, but the nightime lows are below freezing here, and I do not feel comfortable without antifreeze in the system. I am in fresh water here; maybe it is not an issue in salt. Anybody else ever come up with any ideas related to this?
  • December 22, 2012 8:58 AM
    Reply # 1165328 on 1164757
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Frank:  Since I'm a SF Bay sailor and it rarely gets below 35 in Alameda,ca - I thankfully don't have to worry about the raw water freezing (though manybe I should!). 

    What I think about is a system to either dry out the raw water system (without injuring the impellor at startup) or filling the raw water system with fresh water or some other fluid. 

    I don't like the thought of all the salt water just sitting in the heat exchanger eating away the zinc when the boat is not in use!!

    But whatever system I think up, seems to be a lot of plumbing and have a high annoyance value. Is the RV fluid you speak of OK to exhaust into the water? or do you have to drain it out - save and reuse etc. 

    The sweetest system would have a tank where the storage fluid would be pumped into the rawwater passages -- then pumped back for reuse when you want to use the boat.


  • December 23, 2012 8:13 AM
    Reply # 1165765 on 1164757


    Do you have a raw water cooled Volvo engine, or an engine with a heat exchanger and use coolant in the system inside the engine ? 

    If it is an engine with a heat excahnger, there should always be anti-freeze in the engine coolant system year around, as in a car.

    If it is a raw water cooled Volvo, then close the seacock, and open the drain on the block to let the raw water out of the block.  Be sure to close the drain on the block before starting the engine though.  You might also want to drain the water strainer also. 

  • December 26, 2012 11:18 AM
    Reply # 1166963 on 1164757


    I have a Universal 25XP with a heat exchanger. The RV stuff is supposed to be non-toxic and OK to dump in the river, but I was just trying to think of a way to avoid the annoyance of having to fill up the raw water system with antifreeze everytime I put the boat away. There is a company in Canada that makes a radiator heater with a fan that is not too expensive, and I was thinking of using something like that for a closed winter system (and getting a cabin heater in to the bargain.) I just wonder if it would dissipate enough heat.


  • December 26, 2012 11:20 AM
    Reply # 1166964 on 1164757
    Just to clarify, my system has regular antifreeze in the engine and raw water pumped through the heat exchanger.
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